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Release: Immediate

Cost-effective screening device tested by UI ophthalmologist

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Early vision screening can be an important step in preventing serious eye conditions in young children. A researcher at the University of Iowa College of Medicine has tested a device that may make screenings easier and more accessible in the future.

Dr. William Scott, UI professor of ophthalmology, has tested a screening device designed to detect vision disorders in young children. This device, to be used by pediatricians, family practitioners and public health officials, tests for potential eye abnormalities in children that could lead to more serious problems in the future.

Scott conducted a study on the effectiveness of a device called the PhotoScreener. Developed by Medical Technology,Inc. in Lancaster, Pa., this device is used to detect amblyogenic factors in children. Amblyopia, a common eye disorder among children, affects 3 percent to 5 percent of the population. Early detection of amblyogenic factors, such as misalignment of the eye, can lead to the prevention of more serious results, such as lazy eye. If amblyogenic factors are detected, treatment can soon follow.

Scott screened 1,003 children between 6 months and 5 years old who had no previously detected eye disorders. "The MTI PhotoScreener has proven to be a painless, rapid, accurate and relatively inexpensive process," Scott says. Scott's study was funded by the Children's Miracle Network Telethon.

The most significant aspect of this technology is the combination of low cost and high accuracy, Scott says. Children can be screened for approximately $14 to $20. "It is our job as health care providers to try to reduce the cost of medicine and make it more available to people. Now we have a device that can do this," Scott says. "More physicians and patients are learning that such a device exists and is effective."

The PhotoScreener is currently being used by vision screening groups, ophthalmologists, and pediatricians throughout the United States.